The Kansas City Royals began the game in the most ignominious way possible. Well, maybe not out of any way possible--the Royals could have collectively vomited for 30 straight seconds, allowing Brian Dozier to bunt an inside-the-park home run, which would probably have been worse. But barring that or other apocalyptic scenarios, the Royals began the game about as ignominiously as possible.
Jarrod Dyson knocked a single to lead off the game. Twins starter Kyle Gibson promptly picked him off first base. Then, Paulo Orlando crushed a line drive to center for a single. Gibson promptly picked him off first base for the second out. Eric Hosmer ripped a hard grounder up the center into the shift, a shift that would have been unlikely to been implemented with runners on base.
It was so very 2016 Royals. Get some opportunities from pure talent and then waste them, mixing it with some bad luck. In fact, the rest of the game was so very 2016 too. They included questionable Ned Yost decisions, poor defense when it mattered, and yet another Joakim Soria meltdown. All told, this loss was a microcosm of the Royals entire season: just not quite good enough for another try at glory.
But let's start with the good. Danny Duffy, as he has so often been this season, was excellent--even more excellent than his final line would attest. Against a lineup that featured eight right-handed batters, including the miniature Godzilla to the Royals' Tokyo, Brian Dozier, Duffy sliced and diced his way for 10 strikeouts and zero walks. He kept the aforementioned Dozier silent.
Unfortunately, Duffy did not keep Robbie Grossman silent. Grossman swatted a single, a double, and a home run. All in all, Grossman's offense accounted for both of Duffy's earned runs. Duffy's third run that he gave up was unearned, as Alcides Escobar airmailed a routine throw to first base for an error. That error allowed Byron Buxton to score from third base.
Offensively, the Royals showed off their recent streak of power. An Eric Hosmer double in the fourth inning set up a Kendrys Morales 'single' off the right field wall, scoring Hosmer; Morales advanced to second base on the throw. After an epic Escobar walk (yes, those words can be said in that order), Whit Merrifield roped a single to left field. In an odd move, Twins third baseman Eduardo Escobar cut off Grossman's excellent throw towards home plate, which almost assuredly would have nabbed a dashing Morales at the plate for the final out. Instead, Morales scored, and the Twins ran down A. Escobar to end the inning. That placed the score at 2-1 Kansas City.
Oh, and that bit about power? Drew Butera of all people knocked in his 4th home run of the year, a career high. Then Morales, who is as Rex Hudler deemed 'Lava Hot,' crushed yet another home run, his 26th, to right field. By the time Duffy departed after the sixth inning, the Royals claimed a 4-3 lead.
And then Joakim Soria happened.
I could explain in more detail, but I don't have to or want to. Soria bled three baserunners in two thirds of an inning, requiring Matt Strahm (remember him!) to bail him out of an even bigger mess, but the damage was done. It was the 11th time this year that Soria coughed up a lead or a tie, and the third time since August 30th. The final score was 6-5 Minnesota, as a Byron Buxton home run against Kelvin Herrera and a ninth-inning run off of hits by Merrifield and Dyson rounded out the score. Tomorrow is an off day.